With the election countdown on its way, The Enquirer met two local ward teams at opposite ends of the borough
The Brooklands Conservative ward team is made up of Councillor Viddy Persaud, Councillor Robert Benham, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, and newcomer to the group prospective Councillor Tim Ryan.
The team are known for their many successes in the area, including their recent removal of a group of travellers who had set up camp in the Como Street car park in Romford.
Viddy Persaud is a local lady through and through having worked and lived all her life in Romford. She has worked hard through recent years, dealing with problems such as parking issues around the London Road area, Crow Lane problems and the long term battle of the Network Rail problem and netting the local bridge.
Vicky said: “My job is to speak up for my local residents and often it involves liaising between myself and other agencies. There are some problems that often are not always in our control and it is important for me to be able to speak up for my residents so that their voices are heard.”
“I’m always out and about in the area, meeting locals and talking to them about their concerns. We have been securing funding recently for the resurfacing of Crow Lane,” she continued.
The local Brooklands councillor has managed a recruitment team in Romford for the last 35 years. “I really love being a councillor, I love working with local people and being a mediator between myself and the local council, this is definitely my calling.
“It’s fantastic when I’m out and about and people come up and say hello or wave at me. I always aim to do my best. I’m an early riser, and after work, I go home and go through my case work which is something I really enjoy, doing my best to help the residents in my ward.”
Another Brooklands Councillor is Councillor Robert Benham, who has been a successful Councillor for the last 12 years.
Like Viddy, Councillor Benham is a local man and is known to many in the region. “My family are from this area and I have lived here for nearly forty years,” he told The Enquirer. Councillor Benham is the Cabinet Member for Children and Learning where he can boast about “95% of the Primary Schools being rated either Good or Outstanding by Ofsted”.
“I thoroughly enjoy my role. It is a very important one as I’m also the Chair person of the Governing Body, meeting with Head Teachers on a regular basis.” Councillor Benham is a full time councillor now, dedicating his whole time to his work as a councillor. “I’m very lucky to represent the area where I was born and have lived all my life. I am honoured and humbled to represent locals here and be a spokesperson for them. I love the community spirit we have, here in Brooklands we are hard working-class people, and growing up in this area I have all the local knowledge of the area and the issues that affect them,”he continued.
Newcomer to the group, Prospective Councillor Tim Ryan, is also local. “I have grown up in this area and lived here all my life. I worked in Romford Market when I was young and as a paper boy locally so I have started from grass root levels.
I was involved with a lot of charity work, helping to raise money for Saint Francis Hospice and other important causes. ”
Tim now works for Crystal Windows where he has a stall in Romford and meets locals every day as part of his job. “I really enjoy talking to and meeting new people. A while ago, someone suggested to me that I should think about being a councillor as I have good communication skills and am passionate about my area. So I can’t wait for these elections, it will be a privilege for me to represent people here locally,” he told The Enquirer.
One of Tim’s main passions is keeping the ‘streets clean’. “It is important that we keep our area clean, we don’t want to see Romford turning into a tip, we have a great place to live so we need to keep it clean and tidy.”
Tim is determined to do his very best for the people of Brooklands. “I have been campaigning hard with my ward members and I truly believe that I can make a real difference to the area.”
On the other side of Havering, The Enquirer met with Labour’s south Hornchurch action team that are looking to bring ‘unity in the community’ which they currently feel is divided and needs to be bought together.
The action team consists of three prospective councillors Nicholas West, Trevor McKeever and Pat Brown.
Nicholas is a 23 year old film director and producer who has a passion for ‘being a voice for others’.
From Hornchurch, Nicholas has lived in Havering all his life and is very determined to be the voice for the people, He said: “I believe the community here is neglected and I really want to be a voice for them. I also believe the local council needs more young people as often young people feel that they can’t relate to councillors, so I can be a voice for the youth and represent them.
I am a very compassionate person and really passionate about my beliefs in wanting to help the local community, ”he told The Enquirer.
“I’m in touch with local people, especially the young people in the borough, we need more young people in politics and I am a champion for them. “
As a film director and producer, I meet with many people in the area and we have a great, strong, film community here in Havering” he continued.
Nicholas has been involved with local politics since his teens when he began to get involved with the Labour Party. “I am a hard worker and I am known for doing my best to get issues resolved as quickly and to the best of my ability.”
Also on the Labour action team is former firefighter Trevor McKeever whose knowledge of building and health and safety regulations has helped many local residents in Orchard Village following a string of problems on the estate. “I’d like to see stronger building standards bought back, and ensure that every building has sprinklers fitted or retro fitted if needed,” he said. “I have been dealing with a multitude of issues on the Orchard Village estate that I have used my former knowledge with.
Trevor served for more than thirty years in the fire service, which has provided him with a wealth of experience. “When I was a child I grew up in a safe Havering, with lots of green space. I want that now for our children and grandchildren,” he told The Enquirer. “Havering is a very special place with a great, strong, local community that we really want to bring unity back to. It is often very divided and we want to unit the people, for them to all come together.
“One of my key issues is a strong stance on policing. I sit on the local police panel board for south Hornchurch and I think the police do a fantastic job and they should be supported in the community, I have every respect for them. The police have a vital role here and the community needs to come together and support them.”
Trevor has already been supporting many locals in his area and is very eager to continue the hard work if he is elected as a local councillor.
The last member of the ‘dynamic’ trio is Pat Brown. Pat is no stranger to politics having worked with former Labour MP for Upminster and now head of the local Labour Party Keith Darvill. “I have spent many years working in the world of politics in Westminster which has given me a lot of valuable experience. I know how to deal with matters that arise and who to turn to to get them dealt with quickly and efficiently. I have been a member of the Labour Party for many years and am also a local school governor.
“Many people have come to me for help, and I have taken on cases even though I’m not a councillor yet,” said Pat.
Although officially retired Pat still works non-stop for her community, sitting on the permanent exclusion board for schools which has given her a lot of knowledge in community work. “It has been an eye opener for me, learning about how families have to move, the impacts it has on them and all the other members of their family. I’m also keen to save our green spaces. for children to enjoy.
There are less and less in the area and we need to preserve the ones we have. Councillors are the voice for people, we must be the voice for our local residents and support them as best we can.”